This piece by Dan Kaufman in The Atlantic speaks to some topics I brought up some years back, when Trump was elected:

“Is It Time to Break Up Big Ag?

Renewed attention to antitrust has been focussed on Big Tech, but concentration in agriculture may be an underlying source of rural America’s pro-Trump political backlash.

“In the last election, Donald Trump won rural America by a greater margin than he did in 2016, capturing nearly two-thirds of its vote. “Concentration fed and fuelled the politics of resentment, entrenched corporate power, depopulated the landscape, and weakened the autonomy and agency of farmers, consumers, local governments, and communities,” Meine said. “I think this is at the very heart of the rural-urban political divide…

The Ozarks farmer, an enthusiastic Trump voter, is also a staunch supporter of antitrust enforcement. “We need to break up D.F.A.,” he told me.”

Meanwhile, in 2017 I wrote:

“For all the stories going around regarding the Trump victory and “forgotten” white and rural voters, I haven’t seen this one come back ’round, on the Obama Administration’s backing down on agricultural market concentration. Specifically, Lina Khan, the author of a stunning and thorough 2012 piece in Washington Monthly on concentration in agribusiness, particularly contract poultry, says:

It is no stretch to assume that, from the perspective of the White House, the choice to abandon an apparently failed effort to protect independent farmers from such abuses may have seemed politically pragmatic. But over the longer term, it may prove to have been a strategic political failure. By raising the hopes and championing the interests of independent farmers against agribusiness, the administration effectively reached out to the millions of rural voters who don’t normally vote Democratic but whose ardent desire to reestablish open and fair markets for their products and labor often trumps any traditional party allegiance. Instead of translating that newfound trust into political capital, the administration squandered whatever goodwill it had begun to earn. Worse, the administration’s silent retreat amounts to a form of moral failure. Having amply documented the outrageous abuse of fellow citizens, it decided it was not worth expending more political capital to right this wrong.”

Continued food for thought – and reason to continue to be adamant on the centrality of anti-trust and anti-monopoly action in food and agriculture! (And reason to be excited about this same Lina Khan’s appointment as chair of the FTC, one for the most exciting moves of the Biden Administration, imo!)

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